This page showcases work by students in my classes (posted with permission only.)

Essays, unessays, and websites

Sometimes I require students to make websites (usually some variant of an "archive" project, where students find primary sources and create an archive or exhibit out of them.) Recently I've also started offering students the option to either write an essay or do an "unessay" – basically any kind of a project they want, as long as it fulfills overall assignment parameters and there's a defensible thesis involved, if not explicitly then at least implicitly. Below are links to some examples of both essays and unessays – these represent the best essays or the best/most fun unessays; posted with permission of the creators.

The Vietnam War in Politics and Culture (HIST4166), Spring 2024 (online class)

The final project was to do research in newspapers from the era of the Vietnam War and write an essay on some topic related to the war using those newspaper stories as primary sources. Alternatively, students could present their research in the form of an unessay.

Bryce Stacy, LBJ's Rolling Thunder Playlist — Bryce Stacy compiled a playlist of songs that reflect LBJ's state of mind at various points of the Vietnam War. Check it out, it's pretty funny!

The Vietnam War in Politics and Culture (HIST4166), Spring 2023

The final project was to do research in newspapers from the era of the Vietnam War and write an essay on some topic related to the war using those newspaper stories as primary sources. Alternatively, students could present their research in the form of an unessay.

Emma Martinez, Chicanos Contra Vietnam (zine/pamphlet) — Emma Martinez examined the publication La Raza, a Chicano magazine, and created a pamphlet focusing particularly on Chicano draft resistance. Lots of images and examples from the original magazine!

Nation of Immigrants (HIST4726), Winter 2020 (online class)

The final project in this class asked students to take an individual immigration story and do historical research to contextualize it and understand it in depth. Some students researched the immgiration of theri family members; others examined a real or fictional life of a person unrelated to them. Here are three excellent projects that show how much we can learn if we put our research skills to use understanding past lives.

Kyle Tayman, The Migration of Mary Haggerty Ferry: A Proposed History (essay) — Kyle's essay examines the life of his great-great-great grandmother who moved from Donegal, Ireland to Pennsylvania in 1873 at the age of eighteen. Look how much he manages to extract from only a handful of known facts about her life.

Camden McFarland, Daniel McFarlin’s Immigration Journey from Lowland Scotland to Dutchess, New York (video presentation, 15 min.) — Camden's ancestor, Daniel McFarlin, migrated in 1791 at the age of twenty. Camden has turned up a ton of information, some about this guy directly and some about what might have been plausible. There's even period music!

Jacob Morris, Immigration in the Empire: Carlos Bulosan and Filipino Migrants in the United States (essay) — There are some canonical ways we think about immigration: boat trip and Ellis Island; the Mexican border; a teeming city. Carlos Bulosan's life fits none of those. Using Bulosan's autobiography and research, Jacob shows us another angle on migration.

From the Cold War Consensus to the Counterculture (HIST4435), Spring 2020

As before, the final project asked students to pick a topic from the 1945-1973 period in U.S. history and research it in newspapers (and magazines) from the time.  This exceptional group of students (who were working in the middle of a pandemic, no less) produced a great crop of projects. Samples below, check them out!

Brianna Ciancio, Outside the Counterculture (slide deck) – Brianna's project made use of the quarantine to present counterviews of the counterculture in a creative way: she dressed up her housemates in 60s garb and photographed them along with quotes from real newspaper headlines from the time to remind us that the counterculture wasn't popular among everyone.

Rosie Graham, Feminine Domesticity and Anti-Communism (website) — Rosie's project explores the complexities of women's activism, in particular the activism of conservative women, using newspaper articles, video clips, and more.

Sorcha Riby, Alternative Newspapers' Responses to Critiques of Draft Resisters' Masculinity (essay) — Sorcha did some serious research in the 1960s alternative press and the mainstream press, and concludes that perhaps the alternative press' views weren't all that alternative on all fronts.

Taylor Schalk, Political Repression during the Second Red Scare: The Hollywood 10 and the Blacklist (Esri StoryMap) – Taylor's StoryMap cogently (and with lots of humor!) examines the Hollywood filmmakers and screenwriters who resisted the questioning of the House Un-American Activities Committee (they included Dalton Trumbo, who went to CU briefly in the 1920s!).

The Vietnam Wars (HIST2166), Fall 2019

Team 5 (Diego O'Hare, Zachariah Velasco, Grace Neirynck, Jake Kingston): Military Dissent in the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War in Politics and Culture (HIST4166), Summer 2019 (online)

Drew Hombach, The Demise Of A Great Society (website – archive project)

From the Cold War Consensus to the Counterculture (HIST4435), Spring 2019

The final project asked students to choose a specific topic – anything related to the period – and research it in newspapers. People chose really cool topics that were very enjoyable for me to read about: the role that rock played in youth culture, the history of oral contraceptives, the Memphis sanitation workers' strike that Dr. Martin Luther King was supporting when he died, the Detroit Revolutionary Union Movement, the breakup of the Students for a Democratic Society, the space race, the Taiwan Straits crisis, and many more. A few samples below.

Viola Burlew, No Novelty in Necessity: The Exclusion of Working-Class Women in a “Working Mothers” Narrative (essay)
Mary Ellen Di Giovanni, The Fight for Wage Equality for Women in the Post War Years (infographic and accompanying text)
Kevin Shafer, MONOPOLY: Nixon Presidency (a Monopoly game board draft with an accompanying "pitch" for investors)
Sophie Wool, The Death of the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood: Essay, Photo Insert, and Playlist – also see Note on playlist

Nation of Immigrants (HIST4726), Fall 2018

The final project asked students to take class readings and create some kind of a case study of a prominent theme in (selected) readings.

Kristen Balke, Americanization and Mass Culture (website)
Summer Carper, Memories of Migration: Museums, Memory, and Immigration (website)
Berkeley Newhouse-Velie, Obstacles to Jewish Refugee Immigration to the United States (essay)
Erin Shelby,  When Immigration Became Federal (pamphlet)
Kate Foster, Amache – a Japanese internment camp in Colorado (website)

American History to 1865 (HIST1015), Spring 2017

Amelia Spann, The Life and Entrepreneurial Exploits of Simon Durand (life story essay; see assignment description)

First-Year Seminar, Immigrant Colorado, Fall 2018/Fall 2019

The website with student-produced content! The whole class was centered around creating data visualizations from the U.S. census & producing public-facing content about immigrants in Colorado. While I probably won't teach this seminar again, I am planning to eventually teach upper-level classes that may continue to contribute to the website.

Also, Conner Sinjem, who was the learning assistant for the course in 2018, took an independent study with me and produced a poster that he presented at the American Historical Association annual meeting in 2019.